The wife of one of the leaders I coached a few years ago told me privately that her husband easily became introspective and discouraged without compliments. “Encouragement is his love language,” she told me. “Right now he’s receiving very little of it.”But he’s doing so well incell ministry, I thought to myself. I realized afresh that even the most successful leaders need lots of encouragement.
Sadly, some people think that the lack of encouragement will motivate people to work harder. A marketing executive at a large consumer foods company noticed the great work of one of his regional directors. When asked if he had told the director that he was pleased with her progress, the executive responded, “No, she’s just rounding first base at this point. I wouldn’t want her to think she was almost home.” The director was craving support and even a hint that her efforts were making a difference. But the executive believed that a pat on the back would cause her to slack off. The reality is that good cheering section would have let her know she was heading in the right direction and encouraged her to keep running. Don’t withhold praise.
When I think about encouragement, the bottom line is that we all need it. Never stop encouraging. Encourage right away. There is always something to encourage. Are the cell leaders faithful? Celebrate that faithfulness and any progress, even if it seems small. Winning is important, but the process is even more important, and you can always reward those who are doing their best. Again, I don’t think we can encourage people enough.
As 2013 comes to an end, what can you do to encourage your cell leaders, co-leaders, supervisors, and pastors? Here are some ideas:
- A Thank-you card
- A gift (e.g., Christian book, gift card, etc.)
- Words of encouragement
- A plaque or trophy expressing appreciation
- Presentation of leaders in front of the church
- An appreciation dinner (e.g. in the church, in a restaurant, etc.)
Do something. Don’t allow indecision to stifle you into inactivity.